2113 E. Wheeler Rd. Midland, Michigan 48640
In the summer of 1965, I hauled an old Huber Grain Separator
from its retired resting place on the Ithamer Poole farm near Maple
Ridge, Michigan and added it to my collection of old farm tools and
This addition started something that has grown into an annual
My father, Earl Erickson, now 73, had been a
‘thresherman’ for many years, before the days of combines,
and never fully lost his interest in the ‘big
Never having threshed with steam, he said he had always had a
desire to thresh with a steam engine.
With a bit of searching and inquiring, Dad, our boys, then 15
and 19, and myself ended up as owners of a 20 Hp., Advance, Rumely
Traction Engine and plans got under way for a Commnuity Threshing
Our first activity was held in August of 1966 and the interest
and response was so good that it has become an annual event.
We have added other attractions since our trial run in 1966 and
last year we baled some of the straw with an old Case Stationary
Baler powered by an Old International W-30 tractor.
Other attractions included: a collection of old horse drawn
plows (including an ice-cutter plow), early harvesting tools of
cradles, a special made left -handed sickle with owners name
stamped on it, a winnow-corb, flail, and a wooden 3 tined fork made
in Germany and brought to this country by a family of early German
farmers, some other early vintage horse drawn machinery, and some
gasoline, one cylinder, engines.
While repairing and replacing a part of the grain separator for
the 1966 activity, I forgot to remove a loose piece of angle iron
from inside the separator. A short time after starting up the angle
iron-ended up in the blower causing lots of noise but only minor
Last year during the ‘heat’ of activities, the relief
valve on the engine popped and the stem got bound in the guide and
wouldn’t let the valve close. Some of the spectators thought
the big beast was about to blow its bonnet and retreated to a more
favorable distance. We blanketed the fire but not quite soon enough
to prevent melting out the soft plug.
The final activity of the day is a community potluck dinner
(supper to us farm folks) in the Earl Erickson yard. Crowds of 200
to 500 people have attended the activity during the past three
years with lots of fun and fellowship.
Its lots of work too and after the activities are over each
year, Dad thinks maybe we won’t do it again next year. But when
next year comes and folks start asking about this years activity
and Jack Frost says its safe to fill the the boiler and steam up
the big engine, Dad begins to think ‘maybe it wasn’t too
much work after all’, and plans get under way for another day
of fun, fellowship and good food in memory of the days of threshing
with the ‘Big Machines’.